Mile 1716.2 Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge to mile 1818.4 Crater Lake National Park Mazama Village
A really good day!
Day Eighty-one: 22 July 2015
Start: HM 1716.2
End: HM 1748.2 campsite near unpaved road
GPS Point: 42.21123, -122.36868
Day Total: 32.0 miles
Water at mile 1725.6 piped spring, mile 1738.7 Hyatt Lake outlet, mile 1740.3 water spigot
The trail was really nice today.
After supper, I ate a Backpacker Pantry Creme Brûlée tonight. It was good but I wouldn’t have paid for it. It was a freebie I won at a CDT fundraising event back in Boulder. I wouldn’t have been able to eat the prepackaged meals all this time. Trail food is like fuel for me. I don’t want it to be a subpar example of food I want to eat because that becomes depressing. Unappetizing food that is created for calorie and fat tallies is never desirable, and that can be shoveled down by necessity. It is less likely for me to find gross because I never thought of it as a delicious food reward to begin with. Food as fuel creates less dissatisfaction. And I have greater incentive to reach towns for real food.
Tonight Endless and I are camped by a cranky person. They were sleeping when we rolled in around 9 PM, so we were extra quiet in setting up camp and eating. But about 45 minutes after arriving, while settling down for bed, the camper yelled out, “Shut up already!” I felt bad for waking him from his sleep, but also a bit self righteous at his passive aggression. Thru hiking has made me somewhat judgmental of others’ methods of stress management. It is not necessarily an appealing development in me but a development all the same.
Other people I interacted with today were: Barbara and her dog Angel, Wreck and his son Kevin, a guy whose name I didn’t catch as he walked by, Bambi Magnet by the reservoir bridge, Billy the Kid, Side Borg, and Ricky Bobby. There were actually others, but these are all I can remember right now amongst a few day hiker groups.
Part of my judgement has extended to how other hikers are hiking their hikes. This one actually bothers me quite a bit. I do not and should not have any say or authority in how other people go about their own adventures. However, there was a short cut today that numerous people took and it bothered me to be passed because I hiked the two miles that the shortcut bypassed. It has begun bothering me that so many people are skipping ahead and boasting recognition for an unearned rate of pace.
Around sunset tonight I saw four middle sized bucks. They heard me coming and quickly made an escape, but I saw them before they disappeared. Endless recently made a comment about having not seen many males, so of course I was presented with a sight for the contrary. This morning I also saw what Wreck told me was a blue tailed juvenile skink. My roommates back in Colorado had a skink once named Persephone. She did not like me, but the blue tailed one flashed its bright blue at me several times as I tried to catch the perfect view on my camera.
This morning, before leaving Callahan’s, Cheetah’s parents, Terry and Marg, gave us cookies and rice crispies!!!!! What a great surprise!!! Cheetah was supposed to get in today and they wanted to trail angel with sodas and cookies before he arrived. What incredibly nice people they are!
Since we decided to go for the full Callahan experience, along with our plan to push hard through Oregon, Endless and I stayed for the pancake breakfast and had a very late 10:45 AM start. It was so worth it! Breaky was fresh fruit, cinnamon raisin bread pudding, eggs, bacon, and bottomless pancakes. We hit the trail on pancake power!
A day of old faces.
Day Eighty-two: 23 July 2015
Start: HM 1748.2
End: HM 1791.2 campsite
GPS Point: 42.592577, -122.220295
Day Total: 43.0 miles
Water at mile 1748.6 canal, 1771.0 large creek, mile 1782.5 Christi’s Spring
Today I saw a lot of faces I never really expected to see again. Sort of going backwards, Recon was at the last water for the day, then Sunburst (a girl Endless started the PCT with) and Guino, I caught G&G (the badass retired ultra marathon running couple), and they told me about seeing the woman with the horse and puppy (though I did not actually see them). There was also Grock, F-bomb, an older Asian couple, a dad with two sons and three dogs, a father and an adult daughter who are south sectioners, and then a woman named River who is nobo hiking all the sections over a few years.
I have now thought a lot about the long NorCal section that is basically disregarded, or at least given zero conversation, by most. My conclusion is that it is like the forgotten slice of cheesecake in the back of the fridge. CA is so large and rich with trail that it’s hard to get through the whole thing, even though every last bite holds untold deliciousness. I think a lot of people might get discouraged as they reach and hike through NorCal. Coming up on Mt. Shasta provided stunning views and you are so close to Oregon, but then you realize that a 70 mile drive up I-5 from Castle Crags brings you right to the border of Oregon whereas the trail takes another 200 miles to accomplish the same task. It is overwhelming. I know I could not help think about how long I had already been hiking and wonder if I would ever reach the end. Thus, I think NorCal is unfortunately an area where hikers skip large sections to feel that sense of forward progress. I know I was tired of seeing Shasta in the distance as I hiked west, then south, then west, and finally north away from Castella over several days. I am still thinking about all the old faces I saw today and have been seeing these last couple weeks. I know a lot of people must have skipped sections somewhere. I wonder if that’s why NorCal and Oregon are not given much discussion. Do people just skip them?
The trail was not quite as nice as yesterday. The volcanic rocks are a pain to walk on. Very sharp and loose. There are also a surprising amount of fallen trees on the trail, along with a lot of unmarked trail junctions. Just seemed harder than yesterday.
There was a sign today indicating the 2/3 completion mark today. Wow! Doesn’t seem that long, yet seems like I’ve been out here forever. A few days feels like a week. It’s been 82 days but I would swear it’s been over three months already. Time doesn’t matter past the next town stop, yet the enormity of time already gone by seems to linger on the mind. Creeping in now is my upcoming deadline. I do have limitations to how long I can be out here before returning to CO and KS. Much to do with my dwindling time. There is also talk of Washington fire troubles ahead. Detours and other obstacles.
Day Eighty-three: 24 July 2015
Start: HM 1791.2
End: HM 1818.4 Mazama Village
GPS Point: 42.867247, -122.167052
Day Total: 28.0 miles
Water at mile 1796.8 seasonal creek, Mazama Village
Crossing a creek, I saw an adorable little colony, chorus, or army of 50+ baby frogs (I don’t think they were toads, but then they would be a knot of baby toads…) Then I saw a small pond filled with juvenile salamanders. Adorable! It’s like amphibian day!
People: a man doing a sobo section of Oregon, another older man named Sidewinder, a girl I think is a nobo section hiker, several groups out for short lake trips heading away from CLNP, Eric and Sage, and then TONS of people at CLNP. Most notably, Tami! So happy to see her! It’s been over a month!
There was a very distinct burn zone that seemed relatively recent. Or at least recent enough that I noticed the lack of vegetation and shade.
I have been thinking about hiker personalities based solely on shoe prints lately. Speed, style, size, etc. As if the unknown person leaves traces of his or her personality in each step. I rarely ever match prints to people, but it is a fun mental distraction as I trek away the miles. Big thought of today was when did we start having 28 mile days into town stops? I used to have an 18 mile cap. I still arrived before 5 PM and had time for a shower and thorough lounging. Just seems excessive. The things we do on trail. I wonder about my sanity and logic systems sometimes.
Anyways, today we reached mile 1800! I felt like yesterday took forever. Today, however, I haven’t really thought about the trail at all. My mind wandered freely. I discover that I move faster when my mind isn’t focusing on things. The distance seems easier and the terrain challenges become part of the view. An interesting complex as maybe my mind was able to wander because of other unknown factors.
We made it to CLNP! Crater Lake National Park. We decided to stay in Mazama Village at the hiker site. Pretty awesome! People were super nice! And another showing of incredibly generous parents of current hikers. Nomad’s and Rattles’ parents were at an RV site in the campground providing unbelievable magic. A hiker supper!!!!! They had pasta, homemade meatballs in marinara, delicious bread roasted with garlic butter, fresh cut fruit, ice cream, and these homemade cookie cream sandwiches that are unique to Idaho or something. I hungrily stuffed my face and thanked them profusely. There had to be at least twenty to thirty hikers who dined with them. Such generosity! And my great fortune!